Hollywood film star Mark Wahlberg said that the film “Boogie Nights” is at the top of the list of movies he has asked God’s forgiveness for at a youth event hosted by the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago last Friday.
“I just always hope that God is a movie fan and also forgiving, because I’ve made some poor choices in my past,” Wahlberg said before some 1,000 young people at Chicago’s UIC Pavillion.
When asked whether he has ever prayed for forgiveness for any of his movies, he said “‘Boogie Nights’ is up there at the top of the list.”
The 1997 hit film, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, featured Wahlberg as porn star Dirk Diggler, and earned several Academy Awards nominations.
“I feel remorse when I’ve made mistakes,” said Wahlberg, a Roman Catholic. “If I could go back and change a lot of things that I did, I would. I look for ways to give back.”
Wahlberg, who is Hollywood’s highest-paid actor in 2017, has often referred to his faith as a source of strength in his personal and professional life.
“My Catholic faith is the anchor that supports everything I do in life,” the actor said in 2016. “In my daily prayers, I ask for guidance, strength in my vocation as a husband and as a father.”
In a video made for promoting vocations to the priesthood, Wahlberg said he has had “many wonderful priests” in his life and he hoped others would have the same experience in the future.
“I want you to know my support for your work to foster vocations to the priesthood, because I want my children and future generations to have good priests in their lives, just like I had,” the Boston-based actor said.
“My sins have been forgiven when I go to confession to a priest,” he said. “Every time I go to Mass, it’s through a priest’s hands that I receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, which strengthens me to share my Catholic faith with others.”
At the recent Chicago event, Wahlberg shared his own difficulties in the hope that others might benefit from his mistakes.
“I’ve never been shy about sharing my past and the bad decisions I’ve made and being affiliated with gangs, being incarcerated, so absolutely I think they can identify with me on a personal level, and that’s why I’ve continued to try to do as much as I can to help young people,” he said.
“It’s one thing to give money, or to start programs, but to be there and be able to talk to them, and tell them there is someone who has been through the same things they are going through and was able to turn their life around, and turn it into a big positive, that’s always important,” he said.
Being jailed as a teen served as a “big wake-up call” that helped him turn his life around, he said.
Last December, the film star made headlines when he publicly chided “out of touch” Hollywood celebrities who were dissing Donald Trump before the presidential elections, urging them to stick to acting.
“You know, it just goes to show you that people aren’t listening to that anyway,” the actor said of celebrities who dip into political advocacy. “They might buy your CD or watch your movie, but you don’t put food on their table. You don’t pay their bills.”
“A lot of Hollywood is living in a bubble,” Wahlberg said. “They’re pretty out of touch with the common person, the everyday guy out there providing for their family.”
Wahlberg, who grew up in the poor neighborhood of Dorchester, Mass, said that his experience has helped him stay in touch with the common man.
“Me, I’m very aware of the real world. I come from the real world and I exist in the real world,” he said. “And although I can navigate Hollywood and I love the business and the opportunities it’s afforded me, I also understand what it’s like not to have all that.”
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